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Features

Louise Woodward Index

Latest news: Straight from the LondonNet newsdesk
Manchester Press Conference: Louise Woodward Speaks Out
LondonNet Comment by P.D.Clee, Barrister-at-Law
Previous news From our archive: Life sentence, D-Day for Louise
Judgement delivered on WWW: Ruling delivered live on the net
Louise Appeal: The likely defence submissions
Louise Woodward Campaign: Contact details
Guilty or Not Guilty?: You have your say
Links: Other sites covering the trial

Check our LondonNet News Headlines for the latest. Bookmark this page for your in depth guide

News:

29/6/99
Police Charge Woodwards
- Louise's parents face fund fraud charges

LOUISE WOODWARD's parents have been charged by Cheshire Police over alleged fraudulent dealing with their daughter's appeal fund. They have been bailed to appear at Chester Magistrates Court.

The move comes after a ten month investigation previously reported here on LondonNet. One of the key allegations is a claim of 9,000 UKP for accommodation at the home of Louise's former lawyer Elaine Whitfield Sharp. Sharp, who spectacularly spiralled out of control in a maelstrom of drink and drugs last year, blew the cover off the allegedly phoney expense claim after being sacked from Woodward's team.

"Police were here in January. They talked to a lot of people about a lot of things. They were very thorough. When I made inquiries a few weeks ago I was told the matter was going to the Crown Prosecution Service." said Sharp.

The couple were initially arrested on the 14 May and bailed until 1 July 1999. Louise's father Gary and mother Sue were questioned separately. At the time of his arrest Gary, who now lives with his mistress Margaret Hornsby, told the press "I'm sorry I can't talk to you".

Louise, now 20, is currently studying law in London.


14/5/99
Police Arrest Woodwards
- Louise's parents face fund fraud questions

LOUISE WOODWARD's parents have been questioned by Cheshire Police over alleged fraudulent dealing with their daughter's appeal fund.

The move comes after a nine month investigation previously reported here on LondonNet. One of the key allegations is a claim of 9,000 UKP for accommodation at the home of Louise's former lawyer Elaine Whitfield Sharp. Sharp, who spectacularly spiralled out of control in a maelstrom of drink and drugs last year, blew the cover off the allegedly phoney expense claim after being sacked from Woodward's team.

"Police were here in January. They talked to a lot of people about a lot of things. They were very thorough. When I made inquiries a few weeks ago I was told the matter was going to the Crown Prosecution Service." said Sharp.

The couple were arrested last week and bailed until 1 July 1999. Louise's father Gary and mother Sue were arrested and questioned separately. Gary who now lives with his mistress Margaret Hornsby told the press "I'm sorry I can't talk to you".

Louise, now 20, is currently studying law in London.


(20/11/98)
Woodward Faces New Trial
- Former au pair gets say in civil hearing

LOUISE Woodward, the former au pair convicted of the manslaughter of baby Matthew Eappen, is to be represented in a civil hearing brought by the child's parents.

Woodward was unable to afford legal representation at an earlier hearing, but has now obtained the services of Liverpool based lawyer Paul Barrow. He said "This now allows Louise the opportunity to put her side across".

However the judge has warned Woodward that she could face punitive damages if found liable in the hearing.


Woodward Faces New Day of Judgement
- Eappen Family want US court to award multi million dollar damages
- However Woodward could avoid paying a penny to family

LOUISE Woodward, the former au pair convicted last year of murder then manslaughter, is set to face a multi million dollar damages award this week.

Lawyers for the parents of baby Matthew Eappen will address a Massachusetts judge submitting their views on the scale of damages warranted. Woodward is not presenting a case in the matter as she does not have sufficient funds to fight the matter.

However, there remain doubts as to whether any money will ever be paid over by the Cheshire woman, who is now a student in London. It is unlikely UK courts will enforce any civil award in this country say legal experts. If Louise earns money in the US from any spin-offs following her trial then these could be seized by American courts. She could also be held if she returned to the US, owing sums under any court order. However, it can be taken as read that the North American country does not feature high on her list of planned holiday destinations.

Meanwhile detectives Cheshire are investigating Louise Woodward's family in relation to possible fraud offences. (3/11/98)


Woodward changed her story says cop

SERGEANT William Byrne who interviewed Louise Woodward immediately after baby Matthew Eappen was rushed to hospital claims she changed her story. He says Louise initially said she "dropped" the baby. However, the "interview" was not taped and no lawyer was present at the time. Louise denies the claim saying cops at the scene "put words in my mouth". (25/6/98)

Woodward Gets Her Say
- Nanny hints at real killers
- Eappen family criticise comments

LOUISE WOODWARD has pointed the finger at the Eappen family in the continuing controversy surrounding baby Matthew Eappen's death.

"If the parents didn't do it, who did?" said Woodward, 20, in an interview screened on BBC TV Monday night. Woodward, convicted of killing Matthew by a US court, gave her fullest statement on the case since being accused of murder last summer.

Now back in the UK, the former nanny is thought to have seen the BBC interview as the beginning of a process she hopes will clear her name, at least with the British public.

Lawyers for the Eappen family criticised Woodward's comments saying she appeared to be seeking to establish herself as a TV celebrity.

Meanwhile the Woodward family is denying press reports that Louise's father, Gary, is having a secret affair and that it did anything wrong in accepting a UKP40,000 payment from a British newspaper. The controversial payment was for legal expenses, the family argue. 23/6/98


Louise Woodward Arrives Home
- Press frenzy as Au Pair returns to UK
- UK media set to ignore US judge's gagging order

LOUISE Woodward has arrived back in England after her 717 day American nightmare.

The au pair jetted back to England in the first class cabin of British Airways flight BA212 landing at London's Heathrow airport early Friday morning. She then transferred to Manchester en route to Elton, Cheshire via a press conference at the city's airport.

The 20 year old will now face a media onslaught as she tries to return to normality. Although Boston judges have placed a gagging order on Woodward - preventing her from profiting from her story - this is likely to be meaningless to the British and European media.

Such is the hunger to get her story, Louise was accompanied by dozens of the English press on her flight to freedom. Some journalists even shared her first class cabin on the jet eager to be first to secure exclusive rights to her traumatic tale.

There is sure to be a huge US backlash if Louise does sell out to the highest bidder. The Eappen family have already started a civil suit against Woodward which could claim back some of the monies she might earn from telling all. However this may only be effective where money is earned and held in the USA.

Louise herself has said she wants to return to her studies and live a normal life. This seems an impossible task. Unless she plans studying the flora and fauna of the Gobi desert in Outer Mongolia that is.

What Louise said:
Press conference details


Louise Woodward Free!
- Au Pair set to return to UK
- Appeal Court upholds manslaughter verdict and sentence

The Supreme Court of Massachusetts has upheld Louise Woodward's conviction for the manslaughter of baby Matthew Eappen.

However it also upheld her sentence, of time served, thus paving the way for the 20 year old from Chester to return home to Britain immediately. The judges also ruled that she should never care for children again and that her family should not profit from her crime. The ruling was by a majority of four judges to three in the Supreme Court, Boston.

Relatives and friends in Elton, Chester, Louise's home village, have welcomed the decision to let Louise return home. Meanwhile the Eappen family looked despondent at the news of Louise's big let-off.

Louise's mother Sue said the news was "absolutely fantastic", family friend Roy McCabe said he was "over the moon".

Once the dust settles in this over-drawn out affair Woodward may have second thoughts as to today's ruling. Yes she returns home, but her guilt has now been confirmed by jury, trial judge and supreme court judges. In recent weeks comments by those once close to her campaign have further tarnished her image.

First there were accusations by her former legal representative, Elaine Whitfield Sharp, that the au pair was indeed guilty. This was followed by appeal organiser Jenny Jones's claim that Louise's mother Sue fraudulently took money from the fund. Time will tell, but somehow you feel you have not heard the last of Ms Woodward. 16/6/98


Louise's Father Rejects Fund Fraud Claims
- Appeal money has not been misused says Gary Woodward

LOUISE Woodward's father Gary has emphatically denied claims that his wife Sue has misused funds in their daughter's appeal fund.

"I can see no reason for these allegations" he said.

One accusation centres around an alleged forged invoice for 9000 UKP. Sue Woodward is said to have claimed the sum in respect of housing costs, even though the family she was staying with say she was never charged.

The host family in question is of course the Whitfield-Sharps. Lawyer Elaine Whitfield-Sharp was recently sacked by Louise and her legal team for speaking out about her doubts of her client's innocence. Whitfield-Sharp also said the former au-pair's family was "very low class".

A co-founder of the Louise Woodward fighting fund, Jean Jones, yesterday joined others in claiming that the au-pair's mother took money from the appeal. Jones who recently resigned from the fund said "it became money - the money became God".


Woodward's Mum Accused of Fraud
Whitfield-Sharp alleges Susan Woodward made false accommodation claim

EX-LOUISE lawyer Whitfield-Sharp alleges that Susan Woodward, mother of au-pair Louise, claimed up to 9,000 UKP for accommodation expenses while living with the attorney.

This follows the lawyer allegedly describing the Woodwards as "very low class" in a taped phone call published in a newspaper. The Woodwards dispute the new claim. Trustees for Louise's fighting fund will meet today to examine the allegations.

Their local MP in the UK, Andrew Miller, said "it is black propaganda and needs to be killed".

The latest twist in the au pair's long appeal wait follows the weekend's positive news that one of the key prosecution "expert" witnesses has been dropped from State work. The medical expert's testimony came under fire for Defence witnesses and Louise's legal team.


Louise lawyer faces probe

Disgraced Louise Woodward lawyer Elaine Whitfield Sharp is facing a misconduct probe by US legal authorities following her remarkable breach of client confidentiality. The 44 year old is already touting around publishers for a planned book on the case.

Louise Sacks Sharp
Back-stabbing lawyer gets the push

AU PAIR Louise Woodward has sacked Elaine Whitfield Sharp, the lawyer who allegedly believes she is guilty of murdering baby Matthew Eappen.

Louise acted under the advice of her remaining legal team, Barry Scheck, Harry Silvergate and Andrew Good all of whom maintain their belief in their client's innocence.

Whitfield Sharp was damaged by accusations from the police officer who arrested her on a drink driving charge that she now believed Louise was guilty. Despite denying these accusations she was then caught expressing the same views in a taped telephone conversation with a friend, segments of which were subsequently published in a national newspaper. In the call she labelled Louise a "duplicitous monster".

Woodward should hear the result of her appeal in a matter of days. The rulings will be published first on LondonNet, for more info see our Louise feature.

LondonNet Comment

 

Features

LondonNet Comment
by P.D.Clee, LondonNet Publisher and Barrister-at-Law

"....Elaine Whitfield-Sharp's admissions first to a traffic-cop then to a friend in a taped call, if true, surely finally rule out any chance that Louise can be dealt with fairly in this mess..." ...more

1st Louise Appeal

The defence submissions on 4 November 1997 included the following matters which may have prejudiced her trial...(Click for Grounds of Appeal details)

Louise Woodward Campaign:
with contact details

DONATIONS to the "The Woodward Appeal" have kept on growing. For details of you can help click here. Letters of support for Louise and her family can be sent to (Click here for details)

Guilty or Not Guilty?

Have your say...email us
"there are reasonable doubts..."
"In my heart and in my experience, I think she is guilty..."
95% say not guilty | 5% say guilty
Click here to read a selection of your letters so far

NB We have been inundated with letters from around the world, we will read every one and publish a selection of your views on these pages

Links

Links to other Louise Woodward Pages:

Don't forget ... LondonNet's News Headlines

Messages from Louise

Following her release Louise has told reporters:

"I am overjoyed. Thank you for all your support"

Louise passed the following message to her supporters through the News of the World newspaper on Sunday:

"I've had incredible support. I want people in Britain to know that I'm not giving up. With your help I'm going to win. Thanks for all your support."

More information will appear shortly

Previous news from our archive: US backlash | Campaign continues | LOUISE FREE! | Sentence | Appeal Hearing | Judgement delivered on WWW | DA offers Louise manslaughter | "My Louise went like a lamb to the slaughter"; boyfriend | Jurors admit miscarriage | Alternate jurors outraged | Life sentence | D-Day for Louise


Lawyer "I know Louise is guilty"
Tapes: Whitfield-Sharp brands Louise a "duplicitous monster"
Au Pair planned to sell her story, family is "very low class"
LondonNet Comment

The ex-Louise Woodward lawyer, Elaine Whitfield-Sharp, recently caught for drink driving made remarkable claims in a taped telephone call regarding her client. Excerpts from the taped call were published in UK newspapers.

In a staggering breach of client confidentiality she branded the au pair as a "duplicitous, lying monster" from a "very, low class family" who lied over plans to sell her story.

She also said that the she now believes the au pair killed baby Matthew Eappen.

The lawyer who was stopped by police for drink driving, supposedly repeated the confession while at the roadside. Whitfield-Sharp sat next to Louise throughout her trial. Following the police's claims she denied the confession claim, but after the latest breach of client-confidentiality her position seems increasingly untennable.


Looking Good For Louise
- Seven Supreme Court Judges hear Au-Pair's Appeal
- Prosecution stumble in Boston Hearing
- Status Quo, Retrial or Dismissal likely

Click Here for more Previous Louise


Louise Is Guilty Claims Cop
Traffic cop says Woodward's lawyer confessed

AN unidentified US traffic cop has claimed that Louise Woodward's lawyer, Elaine Whitfield-Sharp, said that the she believes the au pair killed baby Matthew Eappen.

The lawyer was stopped by the policeman for drink driving and supposedly made the confession while at the roadside. Whitfield-Sharp, who sat next to Louise throughout her trial, adamently denies the allegation.

Unfortunately for Woodward the timing might be seen to preempt the Supreme Court's appeal ruling due very soon.

Louise Ruling Imminent
- Au pair Woodward's anxious wait is almost over
- Supreme Court's findings to be published first on the Internet
- Barry Scheck backs UK-style Justice programme for US TV

Au pair Woodward's wait is almost over

Louise Woodward's fate should be known very soon according to her defence team. If the Appeal Court upholds Judge Zobel's sentence or quashes her conviction as seems likely the Cheshire au pair will be free to return home to the UK.

Supreme Court's findings to be published First on the Internet

The Appeal Court's ruling will be published through the internet. News organisations will receive their findings by email in a legal first. LondonNet will bring you the result as soon as it announced.

At the appeal hearing several weeks ago the Supreme Court judges seemed to warm toward the defence submissions while giving the state prosecutors a severe grilling over their handling of crucial trial evidence.

Barry Scheck backs UK-style Justice programme for US TV

In a separate development one of Louise's defence team, Barry Scheck has welcomed a proposal from UK broadcaster David Jessel to introduce a US version of his Trial And Error programme stateside.

The influential and award winning documentary series hosted here by Jessel examines "miscarriages of justice". Drawing on the skills and experience of investigative journalists and senior jurists working alongside forensic and medical experts the series has led to several wrongly convicted prisoners being released following successful post-programme appeals.

Scheck told the Independent newspaper "What Trial And Error does is terrific. It would be great if we could get journalists involved in that way. In the past I just gave NBC stories for free. The lack of funding for poor people in court is more pronounced in the US. Nothing can guarantee the conviction of an innocent person more than a bad lawyer or one that lacks funds for research and expert witnesses".

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